9 FAQs About Windows VPS Hosting
The best Windows VPS hosting features plans that enable web developers and programming teams to deploy custom ASP.NET configurations for their cloud software runtime requirements.
Businesses currently support many different versions of Windows Server and the ASP.NET framework in production. Most use Windows VPS plans to host websites, mobile apps, and legacy software services.
Other users specifically require SQL Server, SSD storage, or WordPress hosting options as part of a Windows VPS hosting service.
The main criteria for evaluating Windows VPS solutions include the hardware configuration and the means of virtualization employed on the platform. And, naturally, the cheapest Windows VPS plan usually wins any tiebreakers.
Hosting providers generally price VPS plans based on the number of vCPUs, RAM, SSD/HDD storage, and monthly bandwidth provided with accounts.
You can also consider tools for web traffic monitoring and analytics when purchasing VPS plans. Although Linux VPS hosting options can sometimes be cheaper, you can generally compare web hosting costs between the two operating systems.
Here, we’ll answer the main questions we hear regarding Windows VPS hosting and managed services to help you find the best available web hosting plan in the marketplace.
1. What is Windows VPS Hosting?
A virtual private server (VPS) allows web hosting companies to partition hardware into high-performance units that operate in isolation in a multi-user environment.
The key element of a VPS platform is the hypervisor that allows for the use of a shared operating system kernel across multiple users, nodes, or partitions on a web server.
Most Windows virtual private server platforms use a free hypervisor like KVM, which is based on the Linux operating system. Microsoft developed its own hypervisor for virtualization in datacenters or on desktop systems, known as Hyper-V.
Web hosting companies use virtualization software with hypervisors like KVM and Hyper-V, among others, to support a Windows and Linux VPS server. Popular Windows VPS management software includes SolusVM, Virtuozzo, and OpenVZ.
The best Windows VPS hosting plans allow you to install and configure whatever version of the operating system, ASP.NET framework, and other extensions your software requires.
2. Why Should I Use a Windows Server?
Most businesses and programming teams use a Windows server to host websites, mobile apps, and cloud software built with the ASP.NET development framework.
A virtual private server (VPS) allows you to allocate exactly the amount of server resource you need to run applications and support high amounts of web traffic.
Most Windows VPS plans enable you to increase or decrease vCPU, RAM, storage, and bandwidth in real-time without having to reinstall software or operating system environment.
VPS platforms also include user traffic metrics and monitoring utilities important for debugging code.
Because many businesses currently support a huge variety of legacy software applications in active deployment, Windows VPS plans are frequently designed to support projects with custom code, database, or runtime extensions with complete flexibility.
As such, you’ll see hosting providers support multiple versions of Windows Server. Here are the current versions you can expect to see, along with their support lifecycle:
|End of Life
|Windows Server 2022
|Windows Server 2019
|Windows Server 2016
|Windows Server 2012
Although you should regularly update a Windows server with the latest security patches, many developers need to install older versions of the software on VPS plans for testing or help with modernizing code.
To keep your software up-to-date and running on the latest Windows Server and ASP.NET releases, choose a managed Windows VPS plan. To support legacy websites or software applications, work with an unmanaged Windows VPS plan.
3. How Much Should a Windows VPS Plan Cost?
There is a lot of competition between web hosting providers in the ultra-affordable or free VPS sector, with prices as low as $5 for 1 vCPU, 1 GB RAM, and various HDD or SSD storage configurations. Keep in mind these free VPS plans are typically going to be unmanaged by your VPS provider.
Not all of these platforms will support the Windows OS with their hypervisor. Other service providers may offer Windows Server as a choice of operating system, but you will have to pay for your own license.
The best deals on Windows VPS hosting plans are from managed service providers, where costs can range from around $6 to $25 for similar hardware resources.
Our mental benchmark for high-quality, affordable Windows VPS server hosting costs hovers around $20 or less per month.
The main difference in price tags often comes down to whether the company runs Windows Server on KVM or Hyper-V virtualization. KVM-based VPS platforms are the cheapest in the industry, with support for any Windows Server distribution.
4. How Do I Choose the Best VPS Hosting Provider?
Look for leaders of innovation when comparing options for the best VPS hosting provider.
You can easily evaluate the pricing between web hosting providers by comparing configurations for vCPUs, RAM, and HDD/SSD storage.
- Resources: We recommend starting with at least 2GB RAM and 2 vCPU for a meaningful step up from shared hosting plans to optimize performance speeds under the same level of web traffic. Although cheaper, the services with just 1GB RAM and 1 vCPU are better suited for proof-of-concept testing and developer sandboxes.
- Features: Once you scout the pricing on virtual hardware configurations, check out factors such as datacenter engineering, customer support, guaranteed uptime, and security. Which versions of the Windows OS are supported? How many dedicated IP addresses will you get?
- Management portal: You won’t be able to run cPanel on Windows VPS, but many companies offer Plesk or an in-house solution as a free alternative. Be sure to check which web panels you can choose from.
- Reliability: An uptime guarantee is another important factor to consider. What good is your new cheap Windows VPS hosting plan if the virtual server keeps crashing?
With budget Windows VPS packages, users often look for a large package of extra bonus offers like dedicated IP addresses, a free SSL certificate, and software licenses.
A major perk of VPS web hosting is the flexibility to adjust the virtual server’s resources. You’ll want to start with plenty of memory, processing, and storage, of course – but you’ll also benefit from being able to add custom software platforms and scale up or down as traffic demands.
ASP.NET framework support is another major component in managed Windows VPS plans, which will also allow you to maintain a runtime version in production, install extensions, staging environments, conduct linting tests, restore backups, and automate Microsoft security updates.
Many programming teams use Windows VPS hosting plans for Agile development. The ability to launch, test, and sandbox in virtual server environments across the software development pipeline is vital.
Programming teams need to optimize various approaches to DevOps, CI/CD, and version control to synchronize with Visual Studio, GitHub, or other tools across multiple developer desktops.
5. What are the Differences Between Windows or Linux VPS?
The biggest difference between Windows and Linux hosting is open-source licensing and community development — and the expenses that come with that decision.
Although not every Linux distribution is free to use, all are open-source licensed under the GNU general public license. Linux evolved to compete with UNIX, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, BSD, and other proprietary operating systems.
The ability to run ASP.NET and PHP apps together has been unique to Windows servers until recently when the ASP.NET framework was modified to run on any OS or VPS server.
In part because of the high licensing costs for Windows Server (a Standard license costs roughly $1,000, while the Datacenter Edition carries a price tag of more than $6,000), Microsoft has not had as major of a presence in web hosting datacenters.
In contrast to Windows Server licensing costs, many web hosting companies offer Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, and CloudLinux for free, while companies like Red Hat and SUSE primarily promote enterprise subscriptions with attached consulting or service contracts.
6. When Do I Need Shared Web Hosting or a Virtual Private Server?
With shared Windows hosting, budget plans start as low as $6 per month and range upward to $25 or more per month.
Shared Windows plans give customers fewer computing resources than even the cheapest VPS plans (which start at 1 vCPU and 1GB of RAM). For higher allocations, you will have to pay more on either VPS or shared Windows hosting plans.
The customizable features of a VPS hosting plan give site owners far more scalability than more affordable shared hosting.
Datacenter experts completely manage shared Windows platforms, including Microsoft security updates and control panel extensions. A VPS server can either be managed or unmanaged, leading to fluctuations in price and the time you’ll spend maintaining the environment.
You can find Plesk on both shared and managed Windows VPS hosting for domain name administration and configuration options for ASP.NET, PHP, and Windows Server version usage, along with support for unlimited domains.
Even for small business ecommerce sites, a VPS plan with 2 vCPU and 2GB RAM will outperform almost every shared hosting plan on the marketplace.
VPS plans now commonly scale up to and beyond what has been traditionally reserved to dedicated server plans. Elite virtual private server configurations will over-perform for high-traffic websites at cheaper prices than elastic hardware solutions on public cloud computing platforms.
7. What are the Differences Between VPS and a Dedicated Server?
Although there is often rapid change in cloud hosting, a dedicated server has traditionally guaranteed single-tenant usage of isolated hardware in a web hosting datacenter.
A dedicated server is most frequently a bare-metal plan, but most customers prefer a managed approach where the hosting provider oversees the full LAMP or WAMP stack.
In cheaper unmanaged plans, a dedicated server is a blank slate for customers to install and run whatever software they choose. This is common for custom code in high-traffic websites or mobile application requirements.
There are also differences as to whether the web host supports Windows Server licensing and at what price for VPS vs. dedicated servers. Some VPS platforms do not support Windows Server at all.
Most budget web hosting companies use SolusVM, Virtuozzo, or OpenVZ to orchestrate their VPS platforms. Windows specialist companies may offer native cloud server support with Hyper-V.
Most KVM virtualization platforms offer the ability to run both the Windows and Linux operating systems on the same web server.
KVM solutions are cheap and loaded with options for programmers at the top of the managed VPS product recommendations.
Most unmanaged VPS platforms now scale to the same level or above traditional dedicated servers in hardware allocation but bill at cheaper rates than dedicated hosting or the public cloud.
Compare the costs to Linux VPS hosting or cloud VPS platforms.
8. Which Hosts Offer Managed VPS Services?
The two main types of Windows VPS hosting are managed and unmanaged platforms. The advantage of managed hosting platforms is that the web hosting company will keep the VPS up-to-date with the latest security patches for your server.
On unmanaged VPS plans, developers can install and configure any Windows Server version they want but will need to implement security measures on their own.
Both plans bill similarly according to the CPU core number, amount of dedicated RAM, or SSD storage. Bandwidth is usually metered monthly on VPS plans by the web host, but a select few unlimited bandwidth VPS plans exist.
For managed Windows VPS plans, we reviewed and tested each web hosting service to identify the best options. These five companies are at the top of our list for 2024 as the best Windows VPS hosting:
|Windows Server Support
|$12.74 per month
|2008, 2012, 2016, 2019
|$23.00 per month
|2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2022
|$10.00 per month
|2012, 2016, 2019
|$12.00 per month
|$65.00 per month
|$17.99 per month
The main criteria we sought in managed Windows VPS providers were strong support for ASP.NET development, elite hardware, and low cost.
We also valued the ability to maintain custom configurations to support of legacy code or standards that facilitated software modernization and cloud migration for small businesses.
Hostwinds, which promises a remarkable 99.9999% uptime, offers remote desktop access with virtual network computing (VNC) options, as well as Plesk for web server and domain name management.
Kamatera is a licensed Microsoft partner, so you have the advantage of a managed VPS platform with included licensing costs. You can start quickly and license additional Microsoft products at a discount through the Kamatera platform.
Combined with personalized customer support, Kamatera is a great option for professional projects with custom code or database requirements and ASP.NET programming teams.
If you need elite hardware configurations and the top datacenter engineering to back your managed Windows VPS plan, consider Liquid Web. The company’s hardware benchmarks are faster than AWS, Rackspace, and Digital Ocean.
GoDaddy is another industry leader with managed VPS plans are priced for small business and developer requirements. A partnership with managed hosting legends at MediaTemple led to a rebuilt VPS platform that targets the specific requirements of ecommerce, social networking, and mobile app development.
9. How Do I Get Started With a Windows Hosting Plan?
Unlike shared hosting, you don’t always need to commit to a long-term contract to get the best deals on VPS hosting.
Many companies, including Hostwinds and Kamatera, offer fixed-rate monthly or hourly billing on managed Windows VPS plans.
A two-year deal is the best way to lock in elite hardware at Liquid Web at the lowest prices. The advantage of GoDaddy is integrated domain name management from the world’s largest registrar.
To get started with a managed Windows VPS plan, look at the options provided by the companies listed and choose the one that best fits the requirements of your project.
- Best for flexible billing: Hostwinds
- Best hardware: Liquid Web
- Best for developers: Kamatera
- Fastest VPS: A2 Hosting
- Best for domain names: GoDaddy
- Most affordable: AccuWebHosting
- Best for small businesses: GoDaddy
- Best for enterprises: Liquid Web
GoDaddy boasts the most capital resources and largest customer base. Liquid Web acquired a significant part of Rackspace’s elastic server resources and is one of the most innovative hosting companies in the sector.
In contrast, Kamatera and Hostwinds are challenging the public cloud and shared hosting companies with a hybrid cloud VPS option. These are also suitable for Forex VPS options and algorithm-driven trading apps.
AccuWebHosting is the best of the cheap Windows VPS hosts for budget users and independent developers. The platform is technically advanced with support for many ASP.NET and Windows Server standards under a managed approach.
Be prepared to verify your identity and billing address to sign up as a new customer with a web hosting company like A2 Hosting that implements stringent anti-fraud protection.
If you are a freelance or independent programmer building ASP.NET solutions, AccuWeb Hosting is a great VPS Windows choice.
Managed Windows VPS plans can be used as a cloud solution to support the modernization of legacy ASP.NET software applications for the future or to build Agile software development pipelines with custom virtual private server configurations.